COUPLE WITH NO AGRICULTURE BACKGROUND DEVELOPED A FARM FOR RETIREMENT
Agriculture|January - February 2021
MANY PEOPLE INVEST in agriculture as part of their retirement plans. The same went for Jessie and Lea Dealas, both 60, who ventured into farming to secure their life after retirement.
VINA MEDENILLA

Both husband and wife grew up with parents whose means of support was agriculture. Being used to this lifestyle, they bought a farm despite lacking farm experience. At first, they had limited knowledge of farming and all they had was their ambition to learn and establish the farm before leaving their jobs for good. Several years later, they successfully developed an integrated farm with crop and animal production.

FAMILY HERITAGE

12 years ago, some of Lea’s relatives offered them the lot where Dealas’ farm stands today due to the default of real estate taxes. They offered the land to the Dealas in hopes of keeping the property within their family. Lea noted, “At first, we were hesitant to buy the lot because of the workload it will entail, provided that it was undeveloped and had no electricity then.” And according to her, it is an inheritance from their ancestors so it would be a waste if they gave it up. With this, although the land needs a lot of work, the couple bought the land.

Since 2008, the Dealas has been working on the farm and are continuously learning through their farming experiences. By attending seminars, asking experienced farmers, learning through the internet, and seeking help from government agencies, the farm has evolved from an idle land to a productive, integrated farm.

PARTNERS IN FARMING

Jessie Deala, husband of Lea, is an OFW who often travels for work. He buys new seeds from the countries that he visits and brings them home when he’s on vacation. Jessie added that whenever he is in the Philippines, he spends most of his time on the farm to oversee its construction.

Due to COVID-19 situation, he has been in the country since February, which enabled him to further enhance the farm facilities. Lea, on the other hand, is full-time in spearheading the farm, overseeing daily operations, and giving tours to visitors. In 2016, she also won the 4th place in the Department of Agriculture’s Search for Outstanding Rural Women.

Deala’s Integrated Farm is located in Dingle, Iloilo. It originally measured 1.6 hectares. When another relative offered a parcel of land adjacent to their farm, they decided to expand their farmland, making the total measurement of the farm more than three hectares.

The farm is close to their hearts not only because it is something that they own, but also because it serves as an avenue for their family to build memories through agriculture. “Even when we are no longer in this world, we believe that our memories will still remain and remembered by our children and grandchildren through this farm,” said the Dealas.

FULLY-FLEDGED INTEGRATED FARM

When it comes to the farm methods, they said, “Our farming system is integrated, which is defined as a farming system with simultaneous activities involving crops and animals.” Through integrated farming, elements on Dealas’ farm support one another, allowing them to reduce external outputs.

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